Regulatory T cells (Treg) contribute to the crucial immunological processes of self-tolerance and immune homeostasis. Genomic mechanisms that regulate cell fate decisions leading to Treg or conventional T cells (Tconv) lineages and those underlying Treg function remain to be fully elucidated, especially at the histone modification level. We generated high-resolution genome-wide distribution maps of monomethylated histone H3 lysine 4 (H3K4me1) and trimethylated H3K4 (H3K4me3) in human CD4 +CD25 +FOXP3 + Tregs and CD4 +CD25 +FOXP3 - activated (a)Tconv cells by DNA sequencing-by-synthesis. 2115 H3K4me3 regions corresponded to proximal promoters; in Tregs, the genes associated with these regions included the master regulator FOXP3 and the chemokine (C-C motif) receptor 7 (CCR7). 41024 Treg-specific H3K4me1 regions were identified. The majority of the H3K4me1 regions differing between Treg and aTconv cells were located at promoter-distal sites, and in vitro reporter gene assays were used to evaluate and identify novel enhancer activity. We provide for the first time a comprehensive genome-wide dataset of lineage-specific H3K4me1 and H3K4me3 patterns in Treg and aTconv cells, which may control cell type-specific gene regulation. This basic principle is likely not restricted to the two closely-related T cell populations, but may apply generally to somatic cell lineages in adult organisms.
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